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SPLOST revenues exceed projections in first year
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SPLOST VII revenue collections

Revenue projection: $158 million

First-year collection: $29.9 million

Above projections: 4.27 percent or $1.2 million

Note: Revenues are projected to grow incrementally over the five-year life of the one-percent sales tax. SPLOST VII collections began July 1, 2015. Budget and expenditures can be viewed online at www.hallcounty.org.

With nearly $30 million in revenues collected in the first year of a special purpose local option sales tax, Hall County officials said they remain conservative with their spending of the funds.

The $29.9 million figure marks a 4.27 percent increase above projections, or $1.2 million more than anticipated, according to an analysis by Georgia Tech economist Alfie Meek.

Revenues are projected to grow incrementally over the five-year life of the one-percent sales tax, which voters approved in March 2015 to support capital improvement projects across the county, such as roadwork and building renovations.

County officials said an improving economy is to credit for the higher-than-projected revenues, but cautioned that it is too early to begin thinking about where to spend the extra money.

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” Commissioner Jeff Stowe said.

Of the nearly $30 million collected during the first year of SPLOST, $16.4 million has been spent so far.

“One year doesn’t make a trend,” Commissioner Scott Gibbs said, adding that he’d feel more comfortable allocating funding for additional projects if revenues remain higher than expected for another two years.

Each city in Hall County gets a predetermined percentage of the monthly SPLOST, which means Gainesville, Oakwood, Flowery Branch and other municipalities will benefit, as well.

Hall County has spent its share of SPLOST revenues on upgrades to the emergency 911 center, in addition to the purchase of public safety vehicles and the repair of roads, streets and bridges.

The SPLOST VII Citizen Review Committee will be hitting the road for its next meeting to tour the E-911 center and renovated facility.

“We are pleased to see these tax dollars being spent wisely and in accordance with what was voted on by residents of Hall County and its cities,” said Frank Norton Jr., president and CEO of The Norton Agency real estate firm in Gainesville, and chairman of the citizen committee.

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